Education reform in Sarajevo Canton has been a long-standing topic, the implementation of which is the first important step in the systemic change of teaching in schools. If that happens, then the education paradigm could change completely.
As Klix reports, a 21-subject curricula was developed in Sarajevo with experts. One such expert, Namir Ibrahimović, explained the new focus on learning outcomes, and not on the mere implementation of a pre-written curriculum whose content "must" be presented to students equally, regardless of their skills, abilities and preferences.
Curricula prescribe expectations upon a child
Curricula have been designed for preschool, primary and secondary education, but also for parents of younger children not yet in school.
"They contain clear items that give parents guidance on what their child should know and achieve at a certain age. Thus, the subject curricula are based on learning outcomes, which means that they prescribe what a child at a certain age can, must, and should know, and it describes how she can achieve that," Ibrahimovic said.
These curricula should completely change the current system of teaching wherein the teacher leads the classroom, often by suggesting and presenting the learning content with the expectation that students adopt and remember it in the form it was conveyed to them.
Individual approach to education
In addition, the new curriculum literally predetermines the content to be presented, while the subject curriculum prescribes expectations for the child after attaining the knowledge during schooling. For example, a child in the first year of primary school will be exposed to lower demands and expectations, which will become more complicated over time; her development and success will be monitored from entry to exit from the education system.
"The curriculum does not require the child to exclusively reproduce and repeat what the teacher presented, but insists on connecting, analyzing, creating, questioning, designing content, learning to cooperate with others, mastering ways of learning, and developing digital competencies....after schooling we will have much more qualified students who will develop their preferences through such a learning process, profile themselves, understand what they are best at, and on that basis, continue their further education," he explained.
At present, all children learn the same content at the same time. The new teaching system will take into account their prior knowledge, learning methods, and the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
So in this case, the teacher will have to organize classes by taking into account the individual characteristics of the students and the fact that not everyone knows the same thing at the same time.
"So, if a student has not yet mastered a multiplication table for various reasons, the teacher cannot insist that the child do such tasks even though they are aware that a problem exists. Teaching must be individualized," he added.
Classes will not be strictly 45 minutes
Another change is cooperation, which means teachers support each other in subjects. Accordingly, it is expected that several teachers will work together to teach different subjects to one class of children.
Weekly schedules are also something that will adjust. This means that it is not necessary to have Bosnian language or mathematics every day if there are students who need more help in other subjects. Therefore, the needs of the students will be followed and the schedule adjusted on a monthly basis to address this.
Furthermore, class length will be adjusted accordingly from 45 minutes up to 90 minutes, or even as short as 15 minutes, depending on the time needed to explain the subject matter. For example, in a Bosnian language class, the teacher would follow the reading habits of the children and their comprehension of a certain text, its language and purpose. Then the focus would be on building writing skills, segments that need to be corrected, and finally oral communication and public speaking. In terms of diction and vocabulary, children will read texts, not teachers, and present the content and explain things to each other. They will develop oral skills by discussing what they have read and will be given various tasks to develop their skills.
In essence, the goal will be to interact and disseminate knowledge, not to apply spelling rules correctly or recognize verb forms. In this case, the teacher will have the freedom to choose texts, especially those written in modern language that is understandable and adapted to children.
The political will for this type of reform is important
"However, this is just the beginning, and the subject curriculum alone will not only solve anything. It implies serious teacher education, creating a pilot project of the subject curriculum so that it can be tested, in practice in several primary and secondary schools, which must be monitored and reported. After that, the project should be gradually expanded and all teachers in at least one school should be trained on how to apply and write the school curriculum, and how that educational institution plans to conduct one-year teaching of students," Ibrahimovic said.
Throughout this process, a change in the material environment will also be required. Students will no longer have to strictly sit at their desk and watch the teacher, but that they will be able to sit on couches and the like, to feel comfortable and consider school a nice place.
"It is important that this is an environment in which the child will be allowed to make mistakes; we must not punish them when they make mistakes...they learn from mistakes...that is the basis of learning,” he stated.
Given that this is a complete paradigm of education, the next steps require a public discussion by experts who will discuss the plan and present it to educational institutions.
"After that, teachers will be educated in schools where it would primarily be implemented as a pilot project after obtaining parental consent. In accordance with various recommendations, we would change the document to see what is feasible in practice. The government should adopt it later. This can also happen during the pilot project, however, it is important that there is a will for that. The new government has announced numerous reforms in Kanton Sarajevo, but not for education, and without it, there is nothing," Ibrahimovic said.